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Germany Plans Tougher Rules to Shield Critical Infrastructure

BERLIN, July 17 (Reuters) - Germany's Interior Ministry wants to introduce measures aimed at protecting the country's critical infrastructure, according to a draft plan seen by Reuters on Monday, amid concern over foreign influence in certain areas of the economy.

The draft, which has been submitted to other government ministries for consultation, calls for establishing consistent regulation across Germany's 16 states to protect strategically important infrastructure in various sectors.

Minimum standards are to be set for operators, who will have to draw up resilience plans taking into account every conceivable risk.

Any serious disruption must be reported, according to the 48-page document, which does not outline potential penalties for violations of the new rules.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine, after which the Nord Stream oil pipelines were damaged in unexplained attacks, has put Germany and other European countries on high alert regarding critical infrastructure.

A Chinese bid for one of three port terminals in Hamburg last year triggered a political storm over the risks of such foreign investments.

The Interior Ministry aims to present a finalised bill to the cabinet by the end of the year, after which it would be put to parliament, where no major hurdles are expected.

The ministry wants to nail down the definition of critical infrastructure, which spans areas such as energy, transport and telecommunications.

Reporting by Christian Kraemer; Writing by Rachel More; Editing by Friederike Heine and Mike Harrison

Source: Reuters

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